Johannesburg – The Commission for Gender Equality, a chapter nine institution set up to promote women empowerment and support the country’s constitutional democracy, has been rocked by allegations of discrimination against one of its commissioners.
A sound clip has emerged in which popular gender activist Mbuyiselo Botha, who is one of the commissioners, launched an attack on the commission’s chairperson Tamara Mathebula and fellow commissioner Nomasonto Mazibuko, whom he referred to as an albino.
The clip is a telephone conversation that Botha was having when a recent virtual meeting of the commission went for a break.
Botha forgot to leave the gathering or mute himself.
In the discussion, Botha talks about Mathebula’s lack of a backbone and the fights in the commission.
But it is his comments on Mazibuko that raised eyebrows.
“You don’t know what kind of a person I am. I hear Mazibuko, this albino, is talking about diplomacy. What diplomacy? It is a euphemism for being scared, scared of a person and not saying their name.
“Tamara has no backbone. There is no one in this world I am afraid of,” he said in the clip.
Contacted for comment, Mazibuko said the matter was internal, while Mathebula did not want to comment.
Botha said the conversation in question was between him and a person who was not part of the commission’s plenary.
“Whatever I said was in the context of differences I had had with the commissioner [Mazibuko] on policy positions within the organisation. These were not based on gender differences.
“On my references to her albinism, I deeply regret that and I unreservedly apologise to all the commissioners.”
But Sunday World was told that Mazibuko has launched a formal complaint with the commission and written to speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise.
Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.